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Home-owning hopefuls mostly holed up with mum and dad

Swinburne University

There are commonly held expectations among 18 to 24-year-olds that they’ll be able to afford property within 10 years, despite being priced out of home ownership already and unable to afford independent rent, a report has shown.

According to new research from the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), most young Australians are putting longer-term housing aspirations on hold to meet other life goals such as completing education or gaining secure employment.

The research, using statistics from 2015–16, found that only 17 per cent of young adults aged 18–24 were living independently, while 66 per cent reported that they were still living with their parents.

Additionally, one third of “early adults” aged 25–34 were reported as still living within the family home (whether they had never left or had moved back in) or lived in shared housing.

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The Young Australians and the housing aspirations gap research, from Swinburne University and Curtin University, has examined the short and longer-term housing aspirations of young Australians and the gap that exists between their actual housing arrangements and such goals.

Commenting on the report’s findings, lead author Dr Sharon Parkinson of Swinburne University said that “as house prices and rents have risen ahead of incomes, it is taking longer for young adults to create their own independent and secure households, and for some, it is not attainable in the foreseeable future”.

“This has led many to staying or returning to the family home, or taking up informal living arrangements such as living in group households,” she continued.

She also found high levels of “blind optimism” for home ownership, despite the existence of upward property price trends outstripping income levels.

In the “emerging adult” age bracket (18–24), 32 per cent of young people thought that purchasing a property of their own would be attainable in a five-year period.

An additional 36 per cent thought it would be possible in a five- to 10-year period.

By early adulthood (25–34), the report noted “a sharp divide in optimism influenced by education and income levels”.

Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) with a tertiary education and a higher income indicated they would be in a position to buy a property within five years, compared to just over a third (36 per cent) for those with an education to Year 12 or below.

Less than a quarter, or 23 per cent, of those with an education to Year 11 or below thought owning a property would be attainable in the time frame.

Home-owning hopefuls mostly holed up with mum and dad
Swinburne University
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Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby

Grace Ormsby is a journalist for Momentum Media's Nest Egg. 

Before moving into the finance realm, Grace worked on Nest Egg's sister site Lawyers Weekly, and was previously a staff reporter at the NSW Business Chamber. 

She holds a Bachelor of Communication (Journalism), a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Diploma of Legal Practice from the University of Newcastle.

Grace can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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